Department of Labor’s New Joint Employer Rule Takes Effect in March


Posted by: Chris

joint employer relationship is established whenever more than one company has control over a worker’s employment. Because the companies share control over the employee’s employment, they also share liability for violations of employment and labor laws. 

Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it had revised the joint employer rule to clearly define when this type of relationship exists. This revised rule, which goes into effect on March 16, 2020, could affect your rights in the workplace. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a Joint Employer?

According to the DOL, a joint employment relationship exists when an employee “has an employer who suffers, permits, or otherwise employs the employee to work, but another individual or entity simultaneously benefits from that work.”

In the past, it was hard to determine when an employer-employee relationship met this definition. As a result, the courts developed and used a number of different tests to determine whether or not a joint employer relationship existed. Because there were so many tests, there was a lot of confusion regarding the definition of a joint employer. But now, the DOL’s revised rule establishes one official test that can be used to determine whether or not there is a joint employer relationship. 

The Joint Employer Four Factor Test

The four factor test is used to evaluate the relationship that exists between a company and an employee. The four factors that must be evaluated when establishing this relationship include whether the company has the ability to:

  • Hire or fire the employee
  • Manage or control the employee’s working hours or other conditions of their employment
  • Determine the employee’s rate of pay
  • Maintain the employee’s employment records

The courts will be required to use this four factor test when they need to determine if a joint employer relationship exists. But an employer does not have to meet all four factors in order to be considered part of a joint employer relationship. Instead, the court will have to review the facts of each case to determine how much weight to assign to each factor in the test. This means an employer could be part of a joint employment relationship even if they only meet several of the factors in the four factor test.

Has your employer violated your rights under the federal employment or labor laws? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Our team will work tirelessly to hold your employer—or employers in a joint employment relationship—accountable. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.